Politics

A Week in Review: 3rd- 9th January

Johnson is too flatfooted to be an effective Prime Minister. How much more are Brexit and Conservative voters willing to take?

Yet again, Boris Johnson has shown he is not willing to take the required action early enough to stay on top of this pandemic. Mere hours after proclaiming in the face of overwhelming evidence that schools were completely safe and people should definitely send their children in, he was telling the country that we were headed for a third lockdown, that a stay-at-hoe order was in effect and that schools would close and move to remote learning. Why is the Prime Minister so afraid of taking preventive measures against this pandemic? Why will he never take the measures that any reasonable person can see are needed and were needed weeks ago? Is it just an extension of Johnson’s never ending need to be popular? To be the receiver of endless praise and fawning adulation who never has to deliver bad news ever? All the evidence has been against every move the Prime Minister has made throughout the entire pandemic. When we’ve gone into lockdown, when we’ve come out of lockdown, the tier system, the eat out to help out scheme, all his calls have been well behind the curve or have flown directly in the face of the advice he is receiving.

But this is no surprise to anyone that has dealt with Johnson or even just observes him and how he operates. Johnson loves to be loved. To be told how wonderful he is and what a fantastic job he’s doing without having the stomach, bravery or application to actually do anything. That was how he operated as London mayor; he personally did very little work, delegated the major and tough to others, then rushed in to take the credit when things went well and washed his hands of it when they didn’t. We have seen the same response from Johnson and the government all throughout this pandemic. Never wanting to take any decisions that might dent his precious popularity, always blaming the consequences on something, anything, else and crying about how he doesn’t want to make these decisions, that he regrets it terribly etc etc.

Well Boris, if you don’t want to make these decisions, then you could walk away and let someone else make them. But that is part and parcel of being Prime Minister. You are not there to be popular, you’re there to run the country and that involves some real hard work. It involves taking decisions that will not be popular with some or even a majority of people. And you have to own them. Even if they make you unpopular at the time. Being head of the executive branch of government is not a question of how popular you are it is a question of how competent you are. And Johnson has repeatedly shown himself to be totally incompetent when it comes to running a single department, let alone an entire government.

I am not surprised in the least the ‘protests’ turned violent and the people responsible need to be held to account.

At no point did I think Donald Trump would cede power in way that jives with how his predecessors have. Because that doesn’t fit the image that his supporters have of him. He’s the president that doesn’t get caught up in Washington procedure and doesn’t ever adhere to traditions, precedents or conventions. He was never going to concede and immediately start working on ensuring a smooth and orderly transition of power. It’s not in his character or expected by his supporters. And when he continued to assert that he had convincingly won the election and that sinister forces were at work denying Americans their right to a free and fair election, as guaranteed to them under the Constitution. And this was in spite of numerous election officials, some from his own party refuting these claims. Even his own Attorney General, Bill Barr, confirmed there was no evidence to suggest much of any voter fraud, especially not at the level needed to completely overturn the result of the election. Remember, Trump would have needed to prove that around 7 million votes had been in some way fraudulently awarded to Joe Biden.

None of the 60 lawsuits Trump’s campaigns filed ever had any evidence to back them up. They would make outlandish claims about how many people were concerned about the election result and throw out wild conspiracy theories that the company who supplied the voting machines deliberately destroyed ballots cast for Trump, switched votes from Trump to Biden or were somehow tied into an elaborate conspiracy involving Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan government. But they never provided any evidence for any of it. It was blind assertation without merit. And Trump continued to lie to his supporters, whipping them up into such a fervour that nothing anyone else said, no matter what side of the political spectrum they were on, what position they held, could convince them otherwise. And it culminated in the belief that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence could simply send back or reject electors from states and delay Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote. And when it became clear that Pence would not bow to Trump’s demands, he went to a rally outside the White House and made statements you would have only heard from dictators before. Which of course was his aim, and the aim of his band of cronies. To ignore the results of a free and fair election and install Donald Trump as de facto dictator of the United States.

But this was always the ultimate outcome if Trump were to lose the election. If he had won, perish the thought, he would laud himself for overcoming those sinister forces that had tried twice to prevent him Making America Great Again. But he didn’t win. So instead, he just claimed that he had in fact won and the whole world was just being lied to. And he has spent five years doing this now. He got the right people to listen to him and then spent five years whispering poison into their ears until the point came when he said ‘Jump’, they asked ‘How High?’

If anyone was wondering how low Donald Trump was prepared to sink to cling on to power, they got their proof this week. The hour-long phone conversation with Georgia’s Secretary of State attempting to cajole and threaten the man like a inept mob boss to ‘find’ 11,780 votes (suspiciously only one more than Joe Biden won the state by) and then inciting a violent mob to lay siege to the Capitol and disrupt the democratic process of America. That is how low he is willing to go to get what he wants. But he only got this far through the clandestine and overt solicitation of the Republican Party. The 120 Republican Congressman (the majority of the caucus) and the handful of GOP Senators that chose to continue to bring objections to the floor that was still littered with glass from the smashed windows. They must all own this as well. The fact that they sat by and didn’t say anything as Trump ramped tensions along party line, general political lines, race, religion, whatever he could to charge up his supporters even more.

People like Ted Cruz should not be allowed to condemn the violence and attempted insurrection when they helped to foment it by continuing to pedal the nonsense theories that the President was throwing against the ideological wall. They weren’t simply asking questions or raising objections, they were sniffing around to see what political capital could be gained from the explosion of the Trump political ego. It was cynical and potentially criminal. And as for the Insurrectionist-In-Chief, he needs to be removed from power now. Be it through the 25th Amendment or through a second impeachment. He has shown definitively that he is not fit to hold office and should be actively barred from ever holding such an office ever again. He is a 74-year-old man child who wants to take his ball home. Because if he can’t make the rules of the ballgame, no one gets to play.

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